Every year cat owners debate how to best keep their Christmas tree safe from their cats. Here are some tips that can help to make things a little easier.

While real trees are considered better for the environment they do pose some additional challenges over fake ones.  Pine needles can be dangerous for your cat to ingest and the water that keeps your tree alive can also be hazardous.  They may also be more likely to spark a drive to climb the tree because scents and textures trigger the instinct to run up the tree, taking ornaments (and tree) with them as they leap back to the ground.

Here are ways to keep both types of trees a little safer for our feline friends:

  1. Secure your tree to the ceiling or wall with stabilizers to keep your tree upright.
  2. Put cable guards on electric cords to keep those little chompers from biting down on an electrical cord.
  3. Secure ornaments to the tree with twist ties to keep them on the tree and to stop dangling…because a dangling ornament is really just a cat toy in disguise!
  4. Put small baskets of citrus peels around the perimeter of the tree to deter cats — as some cats find that smell aversive.
  5. Avoid putting really reflective ornaments on the tree, as they can become beacons of light for play as the lights on your tree reflect off of them — like multiple laser pointers.
  6. Put ornaments up a little higher to reduce interest in the tree.
  7. Consider putting a gate around your tree to help deter them from approaching the tree at all.
  8. Create an exciting and cat friendly/safe space near the tree, by hanging cat nip soaked mice toys and putting warm and fuzzy beds, battery operated toys and feeding puzzles!
About Jess Vankoningsveld, Behavior Specialist

Jess has worked tirelessly for HSHV since 2001, holding various positions throughout the years and was key in helping create our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, our barn adoption program and our cat behavior program. As HSHV’s Feline Behavior Specialist, she’s worked with more shelter cats than can be counted, helping cats of all backgrounds acclimate to new homes as well as helping new adopters problem solve. Working with fearful and frustrated cats in the shelter are two of her specialties, and helping families bond with their new cats is something she has always enjoyed, too.